Thursday, April 2, 2015

Google Maps disabled on aprs.fi temporarily due to a TOS accident


I woke up today to find out that Google Maps are disabled on aprs.fi, and the site is slightly crippled.

Google had noticed that aprs.fi has integrated support for OpenStreetMap map tiles *and* Street View. I hadn't noticed that the combination of Street View on top of anything else than Google Maps is forbidden according to the Maps API Terms Of Service document. Or I had just forgotten about it when implementing OSM or Street View (there was probably a year or two of time between the two, and probably another year or two since I actually read the lengthy TOS).

Google had nicely sent me a few emails to warn about the unapproved combination, first one already on 5th of March. I had moved away from reading emails regularly in Gmail a long while back, but forgotten to arrange for these emails from Google APIs to go to my primary email address. Silly me. Since I didn't respond or do anything about the situation, for almost a full month, they disabled Maps API, which certainly got my attention.

Oh well. OSM support is disabled for now, and I notified Google that aprs.fi is again compliant with the terms. Should be back soonish.

I might put OSM support back later, and remove Street View instead, as OSM is probably more useful in practice at some areas (although admittedly less visual and "cool"). Or maybe make some sort of arrangement where Street View only works if you have Google Maps selected instead of OSM. Have to check with the Google folks if that's OK, there are a few variations we can try. The first thing is to get the main functionality back up, no matter which maps they are.

I'll post updates on Twitter (https://twitter.com/aprsfi) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aprs.fi). Stay tuned.

My mistake entirely, although quite a human one. When did you last read the full text of the license agreement of your new application or mobile phone? :)

30 comments:

OH1KH said...

Condiser making aprso.fi or similar separate page only for OSM to avoid these stupid problems. Thank you.

Rick Wesselink said...

I find it out this morning too. Hope you're back online soon. A lot of people love your website, me included!

Keep up the good work!

BR,
Rick, PE2AAB

Unknown said...

Are you allowed to keep OSM if... (1) While in OSM mode, street view is disabled. Street View only enabled when in Google Maps mode. Or (2) Access OSM mode at a different URL, where Stream View is disabled?
It would be nice if both features were available, but still satisfy Google's terms.

Ray Chilcote said...

Well, regardless, thank you for your continued dedication. Your efforts don't go unnoticed. [I hate double negatives. We see and appreciate your efforts!]

73s
Ray - KC4VTX

Jonathan Bradshaw said...

These things happen, you learn and you move on. You have created something beloved by many and I'm glad it is just a temporary glitch soon to be forgotten.

Unknown said...

I have enjoyed your aprs.fi page for several years now, and look forward to it being 'on-line' soon.

sparks said...

Please bring back OSM. I personally hate Google Maps and don't use them. Seems silly that Google doesn't want to compete.

Michael Marques said...

I definitely would rather have OSM tiles than Googles. So I am for the dropping Street View or alternate street view disabled mode.

Unknown said...

At this point you could conceivably move away from Google Maps entirely to Leaflet + OSM. The quality is likely more than sufficient for what you are doing though you don't get Street View.

If you need something a little more advanced, I bet MapBox would be an easier company to work with than Google.

Jakob Grieder said...

I agree with Jonathan, aprs.fi is such a cool website, thank you very much you for your work!!! I love and use aprs.fi for years now when hiking, boating, flying, cycling, driving. Errors are human. Don't worry and please move on with your great website! HB9FEG

kb5zcs said...

Hope you have back up soon i run a aprs igate and us aprs a lot de kb5zcs.......

EA3IK said...

Do not worry, you do a great job,
I really like your application. hope
all resolved soon, thanks.
Enric -EA3IK 73s

Larry Overcast said...

I want to thank you for a great website. I use it on a regular basis and really enjoy it. I look forward to some type of mapping functionality being restored.

Larry, KB7STN

Paul Vizard said...

Keep up the great work. I too would prefer OSM than Google.

73, Paul - K5PAV

Jerry said...

I caught on real quick that aprs.fi was MIA, so it will be nice to see it back on line.
You provide a valuable resource that we cannot live without.

Jerry VE6AB

Scott Cerrito said...

I would like to echo everyone's sentiment here: I use this almost every day, it is a great and valuable resource, keep up your great work! I Just so you know, your site is used regularly when I hike with the BSA - so the parents at home can follow along while I ping out our location... I know they don't understand how this works, but I know they are grateful to see us on the map!!!

DG7VM said...

At first: Many thanks for aprs.fi !!!
There's no need to use Street View for APRS but OSM should remain on the website.
Who wants to use Street View can use Google-Maps.
A separate website for aprs & OSM would be one website more to maintain.
vy 73, Norbert, DG7VM

Gordon Martin said...

thank you for all of your hard work and time.
this is a great resource and is used by a lot of folks who take alot for granted.......

keep up all of your efforts

WA5GM

Gordon

Steve Heyde said...

Besides doing a GREAT job with aprs.fi, let's not forget that Street View is 'Way Old' and out dated when it comes to displaying the photos. I have pics of my yard where trees have been cut down months earlier but still show up in the photos. What's up with that?
Keep up the good work on the site!
73, Steve KA4TMB

noseynick said...

I think I'd have to agree, OSM is more valuable than street view, in fact I was going to ask if you wanted help adding OSM support, didn't realise you already had it! :-)

Ian Bennett said...

Can I suggest using Bing as an alternative?? I have no idea how hard this would be or how restrictive Bing's terms are, but given we can use Bing overlays in JOSM, I suspect they would be a bit more "open" than Google's.
I also support using an 'OSM only' site to avoid such issues again (which is frustrating for your contributors).

Mal said...

I must admit that this is one service that I've taken for granted. I echo the many thank you's that you've received.

I note that the embedded maps on my website still don't work, I guess it's just a waiting game.

John Harper said...

It's back up, Yippee!

klotz said...

Thanks to Google for the free service and I'm glad it was resolved easily! WA5ZNU

Costas SV1XV said...

I just noticed that the map view was restored. Good!

73 DE SV1XV

DJ8RZ said...

Here its working again, thank you for your good work :)

Philip Schroth said...

Please bring back the OSM. Its way better than Google Maps.

Philip Schroth said...

Hi,

when will the openstreetmap back. Its more accurate then Goolge maps.

Philip PA3DFN

sparks said...

Any word on the return of OSM? I much in favor of only using OSM as Google Maps are just bad.

DH2ID said...

Hi, i'm all for OSM, which is way better than gobble screech.. ;-)
I run APRSIS32 all the time, which uses OSM tiles, an that's way cool,
as these tiles are saved on the PC for offline work!!!